MotoGP Silverstone race report/results: Rossi wins when it counts

The Doctor takes the MotoGP World Championship points lead with a decisive victory in the rain at Silverstone; Marquez crashes out, Lorenzo finishes fourth

motogp silverstone race rossi marquez
The rain played into Valentino Rossi's favor as he and Marc Marquez (93) soon began to pull away from the pursuing pack, and the stage became set for another Rossi/Marquez rematch. Were it not for a mistake by Marquez...

After a record-breaking qualifying session in Silverstone, many MotoGP riders expressed concern about the race, as the erratic English weather could nullify their work on setups and significantly alter the status quo on the grid. Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo in particular, as both showed an undisputed pace leading into the race, being the only riders capable of consistently lap in the mid 2:01 mark. Cards were indeed shuffled by the rain since early morning, and Valentino Rossi found the proverbial ace up his sleeve.

After he posted the best time during a final wet warm-up session, the Italian's odds rose significantly. When a downpour hit the track during the sighting lap, however, Rossi became the favorite. It did not take him many corners to seize the lead and quickly build a gap. Only Marquez managed to stay within reach, while Lorenzo was progressively losing ground and was eventually caught by Dani Pedrosa and the Ducatis ridden by Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso.

All hopes of a last-lap rematch between Rossi and Marquez after the Assen controversy, however, were dashed after the Spaniard highsided at Turn One. Rossi then simply administered an eight-second advantage to claim his fourth victory of the year and regain the lead in the championship with a 12-point advantage over his teammate Lorenzo (fourth). A surprising Petrucci on a privateer GP14 and Ducati factory rider Dovizioso completed an all-Italian podium, the second one of the year in the top class since the season opener in Qatar.

motogp silverstone race lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo (99) wasn't able to replicate his speed in the wet as he was in the dry conditions, and despite grabbing the lead at the start, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider slowly began to lose ground. He miraculously survived a collision with ill-advised pass attempt by Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Pol Espargaró (44), and then a fogging faceshield in the final laps to finish fourth.

“Since the warm-up, I found the right balance on the bike,” Rossi commented. “I was in the zone, I knew what I had to do. But, when I saw the rain, I wasn't sure it would be good. I didn't know what to expect from the others, but my bike was really competitive in the wet as well. When I saw Marquez crashed I thought I could relax a bit, but Petrucci and Dovizioso were catching up. It felt like the longest race of my career (laughs).”

In retrospect, it could turn also into the most important one of Rossi's year. Silverstone, theoretically, was Lorenzo's land. The Spaniard, who after the race complained about a foggy visor, already had three victories to his tally there, Rossi none. But, the rain allowed the “Doctor” to attack instead of playing damage limitation and, heading to Misano for the next round, he has a solid chance to stretch his lead further.

“The race was incredible,” added Rossi. “These 25 points are worth gold, because it would have been really difficult to beat Lorenzo in the dry today. But, like I said, the team gave me a really strong package this morning, so even in that case I wouldn't have been as far as I was during practice.”

Petrucci and Dovizioso were equally elated. The former claimed his first ever MotoGP podium on an “old” GP14, reinforcing Ducati's decision to provide him with factory equipment next season in the Pramac team, while the latter stepped back on the podium for the first time since Le Mans, breaking a spell that included many technical failures.

“As I was getting closer to Valentino, I didn't understand why (laughs),” said Petrucci. “But he started to push hard again, and then I had to defend myself from Dovizioso. When I saw I had enough margin, I started to laugh inside the helmet. I was a bit afraid to choke, but everything went OK. It is a dream come true. The rain definitely shuffled the deck, and I picked the trump card.”

“I had a launch-control issue at the start, and I was basically at the bottom of the field,” added Dovizioso. “But the bike was competitive, so I mounted a comeback. Too bad I couldn't pass Danilo, but he's a beast on the brakes, so hats off to him. This is a really important podium for us anyway, it allows me to head to Misano with a more positive mindset.”

MotoGP Silverstone race results:
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movstar Yamaha MotoGP
2. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Racing Ducati
3. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team
4. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
5. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team
6. Scott Redding (GBR) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
7. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Tech 3 Yamaha
8. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati Team
9. Aleix Espargaró (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar
10. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
11. Maverick Viñales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar
12. Nicky Hayden (USA) Aspar Honda Team
13. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing Ducati
14. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing Ducati
15. Alex De Angelis (RSM) E-Motion Ioda Racing Aprilia
16. Loris Baz (FRA) Athinà Forward Racing Yamaha
17. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar Honda Team
18. Claudio Corti (ITA) Athinà Forward Racing Yamaha
19. Karel Abraham (CZE) AB Motoracing Honda
DNF Pol Espargaró (SPA) Monster Tech 3 Yamaha
DNF Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team
DNF Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
DNF Cal Crutchlow (GBR) LCR Honda
DNF Jack Miller (AUS) LCR Honda
DNF Yonny Hernandez (COL) Octo Pramac Racing Ducati